Lime Wood’s themes of nature and nourishment start before you’ve even entered the grounds. Whizzing 90 minutes from London, you weave through the New Forest’s heath marshes and tree tunnels before hitting Beaulieu, where you’re forced to slow down or swerve around the wild ponies that run free. Once navigated, you turn into Lime Wood’s discreet drive marked by a green sign (an intriguing choice in a gigantic forest) and up a road lined with English orchids.
What’s most relaxing about the Regency retreat is not the many pools and massage rooms of the Herb House Spa, but the David Collins-designed outbuildings. Called the Crescent, the duplex suites feel like New England houses and are all the more impressive given their panoramic windows looking out into the forest, with its dense undergrowth of oaks, ashes and beeches.
Combined with first-class food by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, as well as mushroom foraging with Garry Eveleigh, Lime Wood should be a special fixture on your next south-coast jaunt.